PHUKET: Canadian born singer EKA recently arrived in Phuket and has begun performing with her newly formed band at venues around the island. More than a decade ago she was a member of the hit Canadian girl group “Jai” which topped the Canadian charts with their first single “Checking Me Out” for three weeks in 2000.
After a long hiatus while working the corporate world, she re-ignited her passion for music three years ago and began performing at many luxury events in Singapore, before her recent move to Phuket.
The talented singer is sure to make her mark on the island’s music scene and you can catch her next performance at the 2013 Skal Charity Dinner on November 23 (click here for details).
The Phuket Gazette caught up with EKA to have a chat about her music and her life.
Have you been performing here, and if so, where?
So far the buzz of performing has been fabulous. I’m doing private events and also working with Zazada [Beach Club] to establish a super cool concept for Sundays. It’s like a Sunday celebration for people who enjoy their music to experience new sounds; from me doing new renditions with my band, to DJ’s from around the region, to interesting live music concepts such as meshing acoustic with electro-jazz over funky deep house. I’m super excited about it.
What type of music do you like to perform?
I was brought up listening to R&B and soul music. The essence of soul music is woven into the fabric of all my music which is why I am known for singing expressively, with a lot of heart, from the soul. I enjoy many genres but I am focusing my musical direction towards soul, funk, electro jazz and adding vocals on house music. Some of my favorites are inserting “It’s a man’s world” into a deep house track, a slow soulful rendition of Foo Fighters “Best of you” and modernizing a classic from The Cure. I also have some original pieces in the pipeline.
Tell us about the local musicians you are working with here?
When I arrived here, I had to start all over and find myself band-mates. After countless hours of research, a number of live music venues and live jam bars, I eventually made the right connections. Today, I’m blessed to be working with Boy Navio (in my humble opinion the best jazz/soul guitarist in Phuket) and Tony (uber-cool, hi-energy percussionist) and collaborations with some of the best musicians and DJs on the island. For me. the essential ingredient of a band is the chemistry and personal connection. These guys are like long lost friends. They are beyond talented and are just super great people!
Please tell me a bit about your involvement in the group “Jai”.
I was 19 when I was literally hunted down by the group’s manager to join an up-and-coming girls R&B group named “Jai”. We were a marketable trio of a black, Caucasian and Asian girl. We wrote our own songs. We had a bond and the chemistry of Charlies’ Angels. It didn’t take us long to release our first single “Checking Me Out” in 2000 which took off catching us all by surprise when it topped the national radio charts in Canada for three weeks.
You mentioned you took a break from singing for a time. What made you decide to get back into it?
I took a break, as I had the opportunity to work in a global fashion house in Hong Kong, so I ‘carpe’d the diem’. Eventually, one corporate job lead to the next. I found myself heading down a few dark alleys caught up in the crazy fast paced lifestyle of Hong Kong followed by Singapore. Throughout the 10 years in Asia, although I was gaining valuable professional experience where I should have been blissfully happy working for some of the most renowned labels (Prada, Fendi, Burberry, Montblanc), my soul never felt complete. I always knew in my heart that I needed to reconnect with my first love – singing.
Which singers inspire you?
There are so many amazing artists I admire. To name a few Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill are such poetic lyricists. Remy Shand for his natural groove and Bjork for her creative genius.
Do you plan/hope to do more gigs in Phuket in the future?
Absolutely! Performing on this beautiful island in gorgeous venues surrounded by wonderful friends is my perfect dream.
The Skal Red Passion Beach Charity Party will be held on November 23 from 7pm at Zazada Beach Club at the northern end of Surin Beach. Tickets for the event are on sale now and priced at 2,500 baht and 1,000 baht for children under 12. The ticket prices include all food and free-flow wine and beer.
Tickets are available at the following locations: Andara Kamala, Panwa Beach Resort, Serenity Resort and Residences Rawai, The Phuket Gazette office in Koh Keaw, and the 91.5 FM office Kathu. Book online by emailing: email@example.com or purchase tickets online, with free delivery, at: phuketgazette.net/tickets.
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